Sentinel Complex had an interesting journey through meeting, forming, working together and finally becoming an actual band. And they’re here to tell us all about it…
We are based in the coastal town of Bournemouth at the very bottom of the UK! The music scene is good for what it is down here but isn’t by any means big, that’s not to say there aren’t a lot of good shows down here though!
How did you meet?
We had known that each other existed before we met properly in around 2012, and it wasn’t until one fateful day when we both got invited to the same trip to Nando’s that we finally started chatting and said “we should totally jam together at some point”.
How long have you been playing as a band?
We started making some music together 2014, but we weren’t really a band until we rebranded in 2016 to what we now know as Sentinel Complex. We started out doing music and sfx together for random indie game and film projects and slowly got a grip for things, and then eventually thought about making music for us as a band. We still love doing film/game stuff but we really love being able to just make whatever weird and dark creations that come to mind and turn them into full songs!
Before you get sick of being asked… where does the band name come from?
We were originally called Nova Prospect (which is a Half-Life reference) but we learned that there was another band that had a Half-Life related name which got into some legal trouble so we thought while we were still mostly unknown we would rebrand. It took us a good few sessions of sitting down and thinking about the music we write and which words suit what we do best. We ended up with Sentinel Complex, which makes more sense if you add a “The” to beginning of it. If you know the story of our music, you’ll know what it means!
What are your influences?
Our influences range from a bunch of different artists, since we combine elements from metal, electronic music and also a lot of film score works. For metal, our main influences are bands like Fear Factory, Mechina and The Defiled. When it comes to electronic elements, we try to pull a lot of techniques from darker artists like 1788-L, Swarm and some of Trent Reznor’s more electronic pieces. Film score makes up a large chunk of where our ideas come from and we both have a huge mutual admiration for Hans Zimmer! He is definitely our most loved composer, but we also love people like John Carpenter and Vangelis too for the horror and cyberpunk twists!
Describe your music. What makes you unique?
Our goal has always been to take all of the major themes we love and combine them into something unique. We both love all things cyberpunk and horror, so we always combine elements of both into whatever we make because that’s where we draw most of our themes! However, we will always use whatever comes to mind, no matter how unusual or out of place it seems, because every idea has use. This is why some of our stuff is more electronic, some of it can be mostly metal, occasionally we will just compose something orchestral or maybe there’ll just be a long ambient soundscape-esque piece. It’s all a process of writing what works with what we were feeling that day!
Do you have any particular lyrical themes?
As we’ve mentioned we were deep into the themes of the end times and other apocalypse mythologies. We’ve always taken from those stories to craft our own. Our first EP Systematic Decadence is essentially a film score to a world we saw in our heads when we started writing music for the first time back in 2014. We’re carrying on that tradition of creating new narratives and themes with each song. Some directly connect to each other and some don’t, but it’s down to the listener to decide what the through line is.
What’s your live show like? How many shows have you played?
Unfortunately shows aren’t a thing we are doing at the moment, but it is something we want to do once it becomes viable for us! We would love be able to pull off some crazy theatrics and have some audio-visual things going on in the background to really have the shows be immersive as possible!
What’s the wildest thing you’ve seen or done at a live show?
Oh, we’ve both seen some madness at shows, we’ve seen people losing hair, we’ve helped people find their two front teeth that were just knocked out, even people crowd-surfing in giant inflatable dinghies! The worst thing we ever saw though was when we were seeing Machine Head in 2018, the whole show had to be stopped because some asshole picked a fight with someone in the crowd and we honestly thought the guy was literally dead on the floor afterwards. He ended up being fine though! Thankfully the guy who did that to him was arrested, stuff like that should not acceptable in any way.
What kit do you use / guitars do you play / etc.?
Essentially we are made up of a guitarist and bassist by trade, so we have multiple of each of those instruments kicking around to use in whatever context we need. For most applications though we have an Ibanez 7 string and a PRS 6 string that get used on almost everything, along with a 4 string Ibanez bass and a 5 string ESP bass for the really low stuff. A friend of ours actually sold us a really neat bass amp head which we used once and have never looked back since because it sounds killer! For the electronic stuff, we have a Korg analogue synth that sees a whole load of use too.
What are your plans for the next 12 months?
Right now we are knuckling down on writing the next Sentinel Complex album, making good use of our time while in quarantine. We also recently won a remix competition an artist we absolutely love so that remix will be released soon. We’ve also got a few cards up our sleeves that people should definitely keep their eyes open for, so be sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and the like. I think a lot of people who are fans of heavy electronic acts are going to be pleasantly surprised with what we’re going to bring to the table in the next few months. We’ve got plenty of music in the chamber waiting for the right moment to strike.
If you were second on a three-band bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band would you choose to open for you? A chance to plug someone you’ve toured with, or a mate’s band we’ve not heard of before!
Oh god there are so many bands we would love to be a supporting act for! A few of which would be bands like Periphery, Nine Inch Nails, Ice Nine Kills, Korn, Swarm, the list will go on forever! For the artist we would love to open for us, there is a good friend of ours called Neon Proxy who does some really awesome dark synth stuff and having him open for us would be awesome! Really worth the listen, tell him we sent you!